July 2017

Don’t search for the ideal person. Instead, search for the ideals in every person you meet. – Chinmaya

A perfect person is called an ideal person. He is perfect at all levels of personalities – be it physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. An ideal person is an impossibility. None ever was. None ever will be.

But the scriptures speak of “the man of perfection”?

Yes. But here, a man of perfection does not mean a person who has perfected his BMI (Body-mind-intellect). It only means he no more identifies himself with the imperfect BMI. He knows himself as the Self which is perfect.

As Self we all are perfect. As BMI we all are imperfect. Scriptures call him a man of perfection who knows him to be the perfect Self different from the imperfect BMI.

Hence never search for an ideal person with an ideal BMI, because there is none.

Spiritual seekers, in their initial years of bubbling enthusiasm, end up committing this mistake. They go for ‘Guru Shopping’ in search of an ideal Guru. Obviously, the result is only a series of disappointments.

Very many have returned empty-handed despite being in the holy presence of great personages. They complain, “That mahatma smokes hukka; that means he has not conquered his mind… This sadhu uses harsh words, which is against the scriptural teachings…  That saint likes rice and not chappatis, which means he has not gone beyond his likes and dislikes… This sannyasi is a non-vegetarian… That mahatma asks for donation… This one eats too much… That one talks too much… Hence none of them is perfect.”

Pujya Gurudev used to take snuff (tobacco in the form of a powder for breathing into the nose) as he had an incurable medical problem. Someone asked Gurudev, “Swamiji! You talk of mind control, this and that. But you yourself are addicted to this stuff called snuff!”

Gurudev paused for a moment, and said, “Congratulations! You have reached up to here (pointing to his nose). Don’t stop here. Raise yourself a little more and try to reach here (pointing to his head)!!”

With our measuring rods designed from our little superficial study of the scriptures, we go around the world to measure the depth of these mahatmas. Ourselves sunk in the slush of selfishness and sensuality, we roam around trying to identify the fit ones deserving our certificate of holiness!

A mind preoccupied with fault finding never learns from others. Hence even the association with the wise becomes ineffectual and unproductive.

The above quote says – instead of searching for the good person, search for the goodness in every person. There is always something to learn from everyone.

In Shreemad Bhagavatham, a mendicant lists down 24 Gurus from whom he learns lessons of life. He reflects, “Learn the virtue of patience from the earth… Remain unattached like space…  Flow like Ganga, purifying and sanctifying others… Remain unpolluted, like fire… In service, be like the sun and the moon… Be contented and relaxed, like python… Be still and calm, deep and profound, like the ocean… Falling into the illusory tempting fire of worldly attractions can be suicidal, like moth… Hoard things and suffer like a honey-bee… The attraction for the opposite sex can make us regret, like elephants… Lack of control over the tongue can be fatal, like fish… We become what we meditate upon, like worm becoming a wasp…”

Thus Mother Nature herself became the Guru for the mendicant.

The hunt for the “ideal person” is also the cause for the majority of family problems.

A woman came to an ashram and said, “Swamiji! My family life has become a complete mess. Please help!” Swamiji enquired, “What is the matter?”

She said, “Swamiji, it is all because of my husband. I am so unfortunate to marry him.”

Swamiji asked, “What is the problem with him?”

She said, “He is not giving me any happiness. He never takes me for any outing. He listens only to his mother. He is not bothered about the family at all. I am reduced to a mere servant maid in my house… I think I must seek a divorce.”

Swamiji remained silent for some time and then said, “Now tell me something good about your husband.”

The lady lamented, “Absolutely nothing!”

“Ok. Does he smoke or drink?”


“Is he in a relationship with any other woman?”


“Does he take care of the needs of the family?”


“Is he affectionate and caring towards your children?”


“Do children love him?”


“Does he beat you?”

“No. But Swamiji he behaves harshly when he returns from the office.”

Swamiji explained patiently, “Amma, please try to understand his state of mind. In the office, he might have been bogged down by the work pressure. There are innumerable reasons to get disturbed in an office. Isn’t it your responsibility to give him peace when he returns from the office tired and exhausted due to the day’s work? Speak to him sweetly, listen to him patiently and serve him some refreshments of his choice. Then he will never be harsh to you.”

The woman was listening attentively. Swamiji smiled and said, “Amma! The problem is not with him. It is with you!  You expect your husband to be perfect, as in movies. There are so many virtues in him, and still, you don’t see any of them. Your attention is only on what is lacking in him. Now, tell me some ten good things about him.”

The woman became contemplative. She had never thought in this direction before! And as she started thinking about her husband in this new perspective, her attitude also changed towards him. As she narrated all wonderful things about him, the bitterness left her and she was in all admiration and love for her husband.

We ignore what has been given by the Lord and hanker after what is missing. If only we pay attention to what is good in others, life would have become a continuous celebration!

Sant Tukaram was coming home from the field with a bundle of sugar cane. On the way, the passers-by asked for a cane, and he distributed it freely. By the time Tukaram reached home, he had only one sugar cane. Seeing this, his wife Jeejabai got angry as she knew the nature of her husband. She snatched the cane from her husband and thrashed him with it. In the process, the cane broke into two. Tukaram smiled and said, “What a nice thing you have done! Now we have two pieces to share amongst ourselves!”

Life’s joys don’t depend upon what we have; it depends upon how we look at what we have.

A boy with his parents was travelling in their car. Father was driving and the son was sitting at the back. Dad was driving very carefully.

After a few minutes, a modern car overtook their car. Son told his father, “Dad, that car went ahead of us. Please use the accelerator to overtake that car.”

Dad replied smiling, “Son, it is not possible. Our car is not capable of going that fast.” Within a few seconds, another car went ahead of them. Son got annoyed by it and told Dad to press the accelerator.

Dad replied in anger, “You are only seeing cars which are going ahead of us. There are many cars behind us. If we try to catch up with those cars in front of us, we may end up doing damage to our car.”

Son replied, “Dad, you compare me with other smart kids and keep telling me to be like them. If I try to be like them, I might end up hurting myself right? You are only seeing smarter kids than me. You are not seeing kids who are behind me.”

The relationship gets strained and harmony disappears from the family when our expectation from others becomes idealistic.

We have come to this world to improve ourselves. Let us, therefore, imbibe the ideals seen in others. Because at the time of death, what comes with us is not the ideal person, but the ideals imbibed from the person.

O   M         T   A   T         S   A   T

Posted in: Chintana

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